La Paz (Mexico)
La Paz is the capital city in Baja California Sur, Mexico. It is located on the coast of the Gulf of California or the Sea of Cortez near the southern end of the long peninsula. Often overlooked by travelers by the more flashy nearby Los Cabos resorts, La Paz boasts a wonderful waterfront and world class beaches. The city itself is very clean, safe and attractive. The islands off the coast are a popular destination in themselves.
La Paz has a desert climate, with low humidity although during summer months humidity may reach levels of 85% or more. Average winter nights dip into the lower 50sF, and average summer highs usually reach 100F.
The city of La Paz is served by the Aeropuerto Internacional General Manuel Márquez de León.
Expect to pay 15-20 USD to get a taxi from the airport to downtown La Paz, as the airport is a fair distance away.
Ferries from Mazatlan and Los Mochis on the Mexican mainland are serviced by Baja Ferries. They are not cheap. One way fare is about $90USD from Mazatlan and about $80USD from Los Mochis. Both are overnight trips taking about 12 hours (more for Mazatlan, less for Los Mochis). The ferries have been privatized and fares are increasing rapidly (rates have more than tripled since 2000). The prices above should be fairly accurate as of now (1/08), but you might want to check to see what the most current fares are.
One can get to La Paz from points south and north, Autotransportes de la Baja California  and Autotransportes Aguila serves La Paz from as far north as Mexicali and Tijuana.
Airport to hotel:
Taxis, shuttles and vans are readily available from the airport to your hotel but can be pricy. Prices are preset and at the time of this writing were $12.50 per person so an airport taxi with four people can run $50.
It is best to arrange airport transfers thru your travel agent or hotel prior to arriving.
As always, settle on a price before entering the taxi or shuttle.
Return trip taxes run about $20 USD for 1 to 4 people.
Taxies are readily available throughout town and prices are very reasonable, usually $5/$10 for just about anywhere but once again, agree on price "before" entering taxi and be clear that it is not a per person price.
Local Taxi Location & Ph No's:
La Paz is home to various scenic beaches and boat docks. Playa El Tesoro is ideal for quiet, non-motorized watersports in a protected bay ringed with aquamarine shallow water that looked perfect for abundant fishing in the coves. The islands in the Sea of Cortez can be visited by boat tours and are well worth the time to check out. The marine wildlife and worldclass views are a huge draw. Think Arizona with the Caribbean!
There's an active night life on the Malecón of La Paz, the street that borders the harbor. You can walk around, go into a club, buy some drinks, etc.
Whale Watching Tours - Begin your adventure in the capital city of La Paz. Then on to Port San Carlos to meet the aquatic stars of this tour, the Gray Whales of Magdalena Bay. Snorkeling equipment is provided & a delicious seafood lunch is included in this adventure. On this tour you can go scuba diving with dolphins. They also provide bird watching tours as well.
Nightlife - Among popular waterfront night clubs and bars are Clandestino, La Cantina, The Jungle, La Casa De Villa, La Catrina, Aguamala. Also, locals can frequently be found sipping coffee until late at the popular franchise of Exquisito coffee shops. "Maleconeando" is the local slang for something akin to "Cruising" in the US, and refers to bumper-to-bumper driving up and down the waterfront at night as a pickup spot and pastime. La Paz is quite safe downtown.
Biking -The city of La Paz is spread out, and you will find yourself walking a fair amount. The best way to see the city and surrounding area is by bike. There are a few rental facilities along the Malecon but for the best deals ask if your hotel has a bike for rent. Rentals range from 2-5 USD/hr. A good day bike is north along the coast to Pichilingue and beyond. There are numerous beaches to stop at and take a dip in the ocean. Make sure to bring water. Bike difficulty is beginner.
Learning Spanish -In La Paz there are several schools that offer Spanish classes for foreigners in a vacation atmosphere full of excitement and adventure. Some of them like El Nopal, tailor programs to include cultural activities, Mexican cooking classes, visits to the local markets, outdoor sports, excursions, and volunteer work with local non profit organizations. There are also opportunities to do a home-stay with local Mexican families in order to practice the language skills and gain cultural insights.
Study at Universidad Mundial, with the awesome teacher well known as the next Tsoukalos, he´s name is Omar Amir Chequer. He has a lot to teach
You can walk around the streets of the downtown in La Paz, you will see a lot of little shopping stores where you can buy artcraft made of seashells, wood and other materials of La Paz.
Since this is a coastal city you can get fresh seafood, don't forget to taste the shrimps, lobsters, abulón, snail, etc. La Paz serves the best fish tacos in Mexico, and they are available at most restaurants.
Bismark Cito on the waterfront serves great shrimp tacos. Check the price of special combos if you are offered one, as the pricing may be out of line with the rest of the menu
There is a hot dog cart located outside Museo de la ballena that serves awesome bacon wrapped sausages in a bun. Very cheap, also you can find the best ones just a couple of blocks further that street.
This is Baja, so the best budget option is always going to be beach camping. There are a number of free camping areas near La Paz. The authorities often try to close these areas (many of which have semi-permanent populations of winter Canadians), but determined campers almost always insist on "reopening" them. For this guide we will only list the legal, for-profit areas.
The best place for budget travellers to rest their weary heads is the Hostel California, a five minute walk from the Malecon. This brightly colored affair has around 20 rooms built around an outdoor terrace and is very cheap at around US$20 per night for a twin room. The accommodation on offer is very basic rooms have a fan and private bathroom, and the staff are very friendly.
Slightly more expensive but still a great rate is the Pension Baja Paradise which is only two blocks from the Malecon. Rates are $25 to $45. It has incredibly clean rooms, all offering air-con, fridge, tv, shower. Run by a family of tri-lingual Japanese, they are eager to help and run cheap extracurricular rental services in house.
Another great option near the Malecon is Guesthouse Casa Victoria La Paz, only two blocks from it. With a great view of the sea, every room has its own kitchen, bathroom, AC, Wifi and parking lot. Rates are $50 to $80.
Other Hotels in the downtown are Acuario, Miramar, Yeneka and Hotel Pekin, this last one is perfect Mid-range 3 Star Hotel for $45 Dollars per night, in front of the Sea Side Road and only 2 Minutes Walking or .5 miles from the heart of the city.
Other hotels are: Hotel Los Arcos (closed due to a labor dispute), Hotel La Concha
The newest hotel in La Paz is Fiesta Inn, is a beach front hotel, business class, is located in the Marina Costa Baja where there are also available spots for yatch, restaurants, bars and shopping stores, some weekends there are events in the Marina Costa Baja with dance groups, jazz music, samba music and other cultural things.
The well located Hotel Los Arcos has two sections. The hotel itself and the cabanas. The cabanas were clean, and have a safe in the room. Free parking is available on site.
You can also find a wide variety of hotels and travel information on the official website of the La Paz Hotel Association at the La Paz Hotel and Tourism Website.
It is possible to take a ferry to mainland mexico, though if you are taking your car you will need proper permits.